[Editor’s note: This got longer than I had thought. If you’re only interested in the prize, you’ll have to get to the bottom of the post.]

Last Friday I was supposed to get another BodPod reading to confirm my ever evolving sexiness, but instead I was wrongfully duped by Adam Glass into competing in the Tactical Strength Challenge (“TSC” for short). And by duped, I mean he didn’t even ask or suggest that I do it; I just volunteerd to do so once he said the trip to the BodPod was cancelled.

What the heck is a TSC?

The TSC is a competition to judge overall “functional” (some may say, “tactical”) strength. It’s held twice a year, is free, and has been around for 8 years. The events include 3 attempts of a deadlift at max weight, consecutive pull-ups in one continuous set, and as many 24kg kettlebell snatches as possible in 5 minutes.

The hype around the deadlift was awesome. It is, by far, the most anabolic and manliest of all lifts. Pull-ups were just, “meh”. Whatever, no one cares. The anticipation for kettlebell snatches was absolutely dreadful, as if we were being led to a Justin Biever concert. I’ve never seen so many people so less enthused about performing an event. (Which leads me to wonder, what kind of sick, uneducated people actually enjoy martyr-fit?)

Leading up to the TSC….

….I wasn’t training for it at all. I have been focusing on my own personal goals, and I normally refuse to compete unless I feel like I can perform at my absolute best in the given events. Read: train specifically for them for at least 6 weeks, preferably 12.

As I said, my training has been focused on fat loss and shoulder pressing. Not exactly the same thing as deadlifting and pull-ups. Snatches? Yeah, I’ve performed a continual set of snatches maybe 3 times prior to the event and with 16kg bells, not 24kg.

BUT!!! All of that shoulder pressing should have a contraspecific adaptation to pull-ups I thought. I had also been doing weighted chin-ups for sets of 2 and 3 with a 32kg bell hanging from a belt. I felt that if I could at least get more than 10 I’d be happy. My local muscular endurance is pretty non-existant.

For deadlifting, I did some trap bar deadlifts here and there, but for a hip extension movement, I had primarily focused on swinging a 56kg (123lb.) kettlebell for reps and speed. I worked up to getting 50 swings in a little over a minute, or a total of about 90 swings in about 4 minutes. Although it’s not specific to deadlifting, hip extension is still hip extension, no?

Snatches. Yeah. Those things. Again, I wasn’t training those things for anything. I would only perform them as a finisher at the end of a session for some additional fat loss. Other than that. F*ck ’em.


On the way to the gym, I had drank a 16 oz. Sugar-free Rockstar energy drink, aka: Mother’s Milk. I also get absolutely geeked out for competition. The combination of those two things had me absolutely wired. WIRED!!!

Deadlift was the first event, thankfully. Since I hadn’t done a single traditional deadlift in over a month and a half, I really had no idea weight to open up with or where I was going to end at. I chose a weight I knew I should be able to do easily: 355 lb. Yup, it was easy. My next pull was quite the conundrum. My all-time max PR for deadlift was 405 lb. 355 was easy but I didn’t think I’d be able to make a 50 lb. jump. Normally my body doesn’t like huge jumps like that. Thanks to a little pep talk by a fellow competitor, he talked me out of pulling 385, and the bar was loaded to 405. I could tell my hips shot up first, but nonetheless, I got 405 pretty damn easily too. Tied my all-time PR.

Now, this is where another friend’s favorite saying comes into play: “there’s nothing smart about a 3rd attempt deadlift.” Meaning, “it’s the last pull, and you’ve already got a good number up on the board, you might as well go for broke.” (Un)Fortunately for me, I’ve got an internal governor. Maybe someone with true retard strength would tell them to load up 450 lb., but not me. I played it semi-safe. I chose 420 lb. If I make it, it’s a 15 lb. all-time PR, awesome; if I miss it, oh well, I wasn’t expecting to make it anyways.

The next event was pull-ups. DDN captured them on video, but honestly, it’s just me doing pull-ups. 18 to be exact. Much more than the 10 I was anticipating.

Lastly, the dreaded, martyr-fit-like 5 minute snatch test. There were 2 groups, and I was in the 2nd one. After watching everyone in the first group nearly collapse and DDN throw his bell down with 5 sec. left, I decided that this wasn’t going to bring me any joy in my life.

Anyways, I had come this far, and only a pu$$y would turn away now. I started out hot. Real hot. Most people were employing the “do as many reps as you can with one arm before switching to the other” strategy. I decided I was just going to switch hands every 10 reps. I managed to get 62 reps in two and a half minutes. I set the bell down for just a second to rest. I straightened my fingers and felt the worst feeling any beginning kettlebeller has felt. Two calluses about the size of a dime had ripped wide open, one on each hand, and they were DEEP. I looked at DDN, as if to ask if I should try power through it, but he told me that it wasn’t worth it. The competitor in me told me to ignore him and just try a couple more reps to see if I could tolerate the pain. The rest of me was still logical. So, I quit. 62 reps in 2.5 minutes is still ok by me. I just have something I need to work on.

The Aftermath

After the TSC, I engaged in the most painful shower I had ever taken. Water in the open wounds was bad enough, but water and soap was enough to drive me up the side of the shower. Effin. A.

Once that was done, it was off to Fogo de Chao for unlimited meat with an awesome crew from The Movement: Frainkie Faires, Adam Glass, DDN, Megan K, Sean Geddes, Ron Hekier, and myself. It was totally worth every single dollar I gave them. I don’t know what they did, but I swear to God, that was the best tasting, bottled Guinness I have ever had.

All in all, a very awesome experience. So awesome, in fact, that I could not wind down even after a couple of beers after dinner. I ended up staying awake until 4am and had to be up by 7:30 for the 3rd class of the Movement Coach certification. Let’s just say 36 oz. of coffee kept me going.

For a full contest write-up for all competitors in Minneapolis, click here.

WE HAVE A CHALLENGER!!! And a prize for one of you!

After posting my results on Facebook and Twitter, a fellow trainer mentioned that we should have a race to deadlifting 450 lb. Now, normally I would say no because then any ‘ol schmuck from the intertrons would be challenging me to something every other day, right? Or am I just that conceded? But I really have been lacking motivation to do real deadlifts so I thought, “what the hell?” Not only that, but this is a fairly even match (except that I’m way betterer).

Everyone, meet Jay. *collective, “Hi, JAY!”*

Jay and I are the same height and weight, both like lifting heavy things, and both deadlift around 420 lb. He’s actually at 425. Not a big deal.

What does that mean for you? It means that we’re going to give you the opportunity to win a prize! Here’s what you have to do.

Leave a comment down below of WHO you think will win (me, obv) and WHEN (the date) you think the winner will pull the winning deadlift. The reader that guesses the correct person and is closest to the date will win a prize.

We’re not sure exactly what the prize is yet, but it will be fitness themed. Right now, I’m thinking a tub of protein. Sound good? Suggestions? Awesome.

What does that mean for Jay and me? We haven’t completely agreed to terms, but the loser has to pay for the prize that you’ll be winning, and some kind of public display of humiliation. No idea what that could be right now. At the very least, an embarassing picture here on my website. Any ideas?

Now, get to guessing**!!

** Limit one guess per person and they MUST be down in the comments on this post to be eligible.

Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.